Israel has announced a wide building program of 2,500 more Jewish settlement homes in the occupied West Bank. This statement is one of the most extensive plans in years and shows a broad refusal to the last United Nations Security Council resolution, in which settlement building was defined as a violation of international law and thus a critical barrier to peace.
Nowadays up to 400,000 settlers live in the West Bank and more than 200,000 in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war. The decision is most likely to increment tensions and uncertainty among Palestinians and Middle Eastern countries.
Palestinian officials have immediately condemned the new building program. They strongly believe that the decision will impede any effort to establish security and stability, and therefore, possibilities to start a peace process will be impossible to achieve.
The new US government, although it has generally been rapid to condemn settlement announcements, remains now quiet while most of European countries are denouncing Israeli plans.